By Amy Konrath
(LONG POND, PA) – Scott Dixon proved that it isn’t where you start an IZOD IndyCar Series race. It’s where you finish. Dixon led a first-ever Chip Ganassi Racing podium sweep to win INDYCAR’s return to Pocono Raceway after a 24-year absence.
Dixon earned his first victory since Mid-Ohio last August, while Charlie Kimball tied his career high of second and four-time series champion Dario Franchitti finished third.
It was the 100th win in all forms of motorsports for Chip Ganassi Racing and the 200th in Indy car competition for engine manufacturer Honda.
Dixon, who earned his 30th Indy car victory, is the eighth different winner in 11 IZOD IndyCar Series races this season. He crossed the finish line .4572 of a second ahead of Kimball in a race slowed by only two cautions for 12 laps. The average speed of 192.864 mph bested Danny Sullivan’s Indy car record 170.720 mph in the 1989 race on the 2.5-mile tri-oval.
“Going into this morning, I was not thinking we could win. The team definitely hasn’t given up, and you’ve got to hand it to Honda, as well,” Dixon said. “I think fuel mileage was the key today. And we still had speed up front without having to save all the time.”
The last 1-2-3 team finish was by Team Penske (Will Power, Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe) at Sonoma Raceway in August 2011.
Will Power placed fourth and Josef Newgarden matched his best finish of fifth at Sao Paulo in May.
"What a great team effort,” said Newgarden. “They did a killer job; they work really hard. We have some great engineers, great mechanics. It’s an incredible group, and they showed exactly what they’ve been putting in for our program.”
Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan’s prospects of claiming the $1 million Fuzzy’s Triple Crown bonus vanished on Lap 107 when he moved to overtake Dixon’s No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car for the lead on the inside entering Turn 1. The right-front wing sustained damage when it clipped the rear of the No. 9 car, and Kanaan pitted three laps later.
Still, Kanaan remains eligible for the $250,000 prize — along with Dixon — if either wins the MAV TV 500 on Oct. 19 at Auto Club Speedway.
Castroneves, who finished eighth, stretched his championship points lead to 23 over Ryan Hunter-Reay heading to the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader July 13-14, which pays full points in both races. Pole sitter Marco Andretti, who finished 10th after dominating the early portion of the race, remains third and Dixon, a two-time series champion, jumped three positions to fourth with eight races remaining. Canadian James Hinchcliffe is in 5th with 272 points and three wins.